Message to WPI Community

Dear WPI Community, 

Welcome back from the Thanksgiving break; we hope you’ve returned replenished in every way. 

At this time of year, the focus is often on family and friends, and we are reminded just how important it is to feel valued, respected, and welcomed. Since the coming weeks will offer many more opportunities to gather and reflect on those sentiments, we’d like to invite every member of the community to consider how they can continue to find opportunities to ensure that kind of climate and culture here at WPI. 

Our collective work and institutional commitment are key drivers for our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts. But it is the actions of each individual community member that will make inclusion and belonging realities for everyone on campus. We find ourselves in a moment where it is important to reaffirm our commitment to those goals, and to call upon every member of the WPI community to also commit to live these values every day.

Recently, our campus experienced unacceptable acts of defacing, vandalizing, and removing signs marking gender-inclusive restrooms in some of our buildings. We are working with Campus Police to investigate these acts, and we would ask anyone who knows anything that might help that investigation to either call Campus Police at x5433, or stop by the station, which is located in Founders Hall.

The recent shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, CO serves as a tragic reminder of the work that remains to be done to ensure the safety for members of the LGBTQIAP+ community. In support for our LGBTQIAP+ community members, there are efforts large and small, as well as institutional and personal, that can help us all enact this commitment.

We know and appreciate that many community members have already demonstrated their commitment to helping WPI foster a climate of inclusion and safety for all. As an institution of learning and helping, we want to take a moment to remind you of some programs and efforts that can help us all do and be better. Among those:

  • Encouraging the use of appropriate pronounsand a person’s lived name. When referring to faculty, staff, and students, such effort shows respect, which is essential to ensuring an inclusive environment.
  • Participating in events and taking opportunities to learn and show support. Just last week more than 100 people came to the opening of the Lavender Lounge, a space in the Rubin Campus Center for those in the LGBTQIAP+ community and allies to gather and build kinship. Watch for a Herd article and photos about this space.
  • Taking moments for awareness and caring. We would be remiss not to mention that Transgender Awareness Week — recognized annually from November 13-19 — celebrates the voices and experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals through education and action, culminating in Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th that brings transgender and gender non-conforming people and allies together to honor the lives lost to anti-transgender violence.
  • Planning time and space for important discussions. There are multiple university-wide events being planned to allow for important discussions around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. Please watch for details and plan to join those conversations. Also, if you see or sense an emerging need for such discussions, please contact Tony Laing, PhD, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, at either or x6382.

Please take a moment to learn more about what’s new and/or upcoming from our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging team and activities. Take a moment to also reacquaint yourself with the offering and efforts that are available through Be Well Together, and the individuals who have worked tirelessly to understand the stresses we encounter and develop ways to ease those stresses. Of particular note, be sure to stop by the Center for Well-Being’s Open House on Tuesday, December 6th from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to learn more about wellness programming available on campus.

With hope and gratitude, 

Lauren Turner | Senior Vice President of Talent & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer 

Tony Laing | Assistant Vice President, Diversity Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Arnold Lane | Director of Multicultural Education and Community Engagement